Western began the new year with a 2-0 record but then lost three straight to enter the spring semester with a 5-12 overall record.
The Griffons fell most recently on the road to Washburn and Emporia State last week.
Against the Ichabods, the Griffons found themselves down 7-0 early in the first half. Western continued to fight but could not erase the deficit while Washburn would increase their lead to 14 with a score of 28-14. The lead would be cut to single digits off of a jumper from forward Currie Byrd, putting the Griffons down by just eight with a score of 35-27. The Ichabods would make one last shot to push their lead back to ten before the first half was over, going into halftime up 37-27.
In the second half Western could not stop Washburns offense as they increased their lead to 19 points halfway through the half with a score of 60-41. The Griffons went on a 9-0 run to drop the Ichabods’ lead to 10, with a 60-50 score but they would not gain any more ground as they were defeated 78-67.
Western was lead in scoring by Byrd with 14 points and guard Joshua Ross with 11. They shot just 35.9 percent from the field as a team while Washburn shot 51.9 percent.
Head coach Brett Weiberg was not pleased with the way his team performed.
“That was a bad night for us in terms of we just didn’t play well. We didn’t shoot it well and we were pretty bad at transition defense,” Weiberg said. “Those are two things that I think that we can control and we just didn’t. I’m just really disappointed with how we played at Washburn.”
Western traveled to Emporia State next and looked to be on track for their first road win until the final moments of the game. The Griffons took a 6-0 lead in the first half but the Hornets quickly tied it up and then took a two point 8-6 lead. From there on the game would be a back and fourth battle between both teams. After multiple lead changes Western went into halftime down by nine with a score of 35-26.
In the second half the Hornets moved their lead to 11 points but the Griffon went on a 9-0 run to pull within two points of their opponent, with the score at 35-37. Emporia State held onto the lead for little while longer but halfway through the second half Western would retake the lead and push it up to four points with a 51-47 score. It continued to be neck and neck until the final seconds when the Griffons were up 66-65 with 49 seconds left to play. After missed shots from guard Cole Clearman and forward Mataika Koyamainavure, the Hornets Terrence Moore put in a layup with 10 seconds left to put the Griffons back down 67-66. With just two seconds to go guard Aaron Emmanuel missed a layup and Western would lose a heartbreaker, 67-66.
Emmanuel led the Griffons in scoring with 14 points. He also recorded a triple-double, adding on 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Byrd was second in scoring with 13 points while guard Trey Sampson scored 12.
Weiberg believed that they would pull this game out for a win and that they played well enough to do so.
“I thought the kids played hard and we played good enough to win the game, we just didn’t get it done,” Weiberg said. “The only choice that you have is to move on and get ready for Thursday.”
Western will be back in the Fieldhouse on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. against Fort Hays.